Clutch recently asked its readers to reminisce about their favorite childhood dolls, and what we discovered was how great a role the “race” of our dolls played in our (and our mothers’) memories and appreciation of them. Color becomes important to girls at increasingly younger ages, and having toys and fictional characters who resemble us in body types, hair texture, vernacular, and skin color are all significant in early childhood and pre-adolescent esteem-building.
Twenty-two-year-old Las Vegas college student, Lauren, seems to understand the importance of positive racial imagining — and how it’s been historically underserved. She recently re-imagined many of Disney’s most iconic princesses and heroines as women of color on her Tumblr page and is earning a lot of buzz for her effort.
Lauren says she took on the project “just for funzies,” but seeing the princesses in various hues gives us a glimpse at the potential of animation to evoke positive discussions about identity, appearance, race, and gender. Writer Patrice Peck agrees that the project is indeed progressive, but points out that skin color is the only thing that’s changed:
While the Disney princesses spotlighted on Lauren’s blog differ in skin complexion, their facial and body structures remaining the same — not to mention, the long, straight hair that most of them sport. Given the ongoing debate on the significance of hair and standards of beauty in the African-American community , perhaps featuring some of these women with a natural hairdo would have deepened the message of diversity behind these images even further.